9:19 AM, Nov 18, 2015 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
With just three weeks remaining in the best regular season in all of sports—a regular season whose greatness largely results from the smallness of the playoff field to follow—various teams’ prospects for making the 4-team College Football Playoff are starting to take shape. Here’s a rundown of which teams control their own destiny, which need a little bit of help, and which need a lot of help but are still in the running for one of the four coveted slots.
Teams controlling their own destiny:
Six teams control their own destiny. If they win out, they will make the playoff field. Not even the vagaries of the entirely subjective 13-member selection committee could keep them out. (Well, they could, but they won’t.) These six teams are (10-0) Iowa (#1 in the Anderson & Hester Rankings), (10-0) Clemson (#2), (10-0) Oklahoma State (#3), (9-1) Alabama (#4), (10-0) Ohio State (#6), and (9-1) Michigan State (#10).
Iowa, Ohio State, and Michigan State are all vying to become the Big Ten champion. Only one of them (at most) can win out, and if one does, that team will make the playoff field. (Iowa and Ohio State would be undefeated conference champions, and Michigan State would be 12-1 with wins over Michigan, Ohio State, and Iowa.) Likewise, if they were to win out, Alabama would get a bid as the 1-loss SEC champion, Clemson would get one as the undefeated ACC champion, and Oklahoma State would get one as the undefeated Big 12 champion.
But don’t bet your house on the Big Ten champ, Alabama, Clemson, and Oklahoma State all winning out.
Teams mostly controlling their own destiny:
Perhaps surprisingly, the (9-1) Florida Gators (#7 in the Anderson & Hester Rankings) might actually control their own destiny, but to be on the safe side, they need Alabama to beat archrival (5-5) Auburn (#43). Assuming the Gators win out (the assumption for each of the teams under discussion), that would pit Florida and Alabama in the SEC Championship Game, with the general expectation being that the 1-loss Crimson Tide would win and advance to the playoff. If the Gators instead knock off the Tide, they will be the SEC champions and will go to the playoff in Alabama’s place. There is no way a 1-loss SEC champ that just upset 1-loss Alabama would be denied a bid. Even beating 2-loss Alabama might be good enough (but beating 3-loss Mississippi, in the unlikely scenario that Ole Miss gets into that game, probably wouldn’t be).
(9-1) Notre Dame (#6 in the Anderson & Hester Rankings) needs either Oklahoma State (which still has to play 1-loss Baylor and 1-loss Oklahoma) or Clemson to lose. If both of those teams win out, then the Irish need for either the SEC or Big Ten champ to have two losses. If Oklahoma State loses (and Clemson wins out and neither the SEC nor Big Ten champ has two losses), the Irish would still have to look out for a 1-loss Oklahoma (currently #9 in the Anderson & Hester Rankings). But the guess here is that an 11-1 Notre Dame, with (in that scenario) wins over Stanford and USC—one or both of which will likely be playing in the Pac-12 Championship Game—and with its only loss having been on the road against Clemson by 2 points, wouldn’t get passed over in favor of a Sooners team that was defeated by 6-loss (and counting) Texas.
Teams needing some help:
In addition to the eight teams discussed above, each of which needs either no help or not much, there are eight other teams that would seem to have a feasible shot at a playoff berth if they were to win out and things were to break their way. Aside from winning its remaining games (versus 1-loss TCU and undefeated Oklahoma State), (9-1) Oklahoma (#9) simply needs Stanford to win at home against Notre Dame, two days after Thanksgiving. In that case, the Sooners should join (most likely) the SEC, Big Ten, and ACC champions in the playoff.
7:23 AM, Nov 16, 2015 • By DANIEL HALPER
Alabama governor Robert Bentley is refusing to allow Syrian refugees to relocate to Alabama.
“After full consideration of this weekend’s attacks of terror on innocent citizens in Paris, I will oppose any attempt to relocate Syrian refugees to Alabama through the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program. As your Governor, I will not stand complicit to a policy that places the citizens of Alabama in harm’s way,” Governor Bentley says in a statement released by his office.
Is Bush fully competing in the SEC primaries?4:03 PM, Nov 9, 2015 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Jeb Bush's campaign has long emphasized the importance of the 12 primary contests on March 1—nicknamed the "SEC primary" because several states have schools in the NCAA's Southeastern Conference.
9:28 AM, Nov 4, 2015 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
For 16 years, the Bowl Championship Series focused fans’ and reporters’ attention on teams’ actual success in winning games against strong opponents. Just over a year into the new Selection Committee era (in which 13 people determine which teams will be invited to a 4-team playoff), it’s clear that the sort of maddening and subjective evaluations that held sway during college football’s poll-dominated pre-BCS days are returning with a vengeance. Actual accomplishments are taking a back seat to perceptions about what a team might be able to achieve going forward.
The Spartans’ win deserves accolades, not an asterisk.
10:41 AM, Oct 19, 2015 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
On a crazy college football Saturday that saw Michigan State pull out about the most improbable win since Stanford’s band came onto the field against Cal 33 years ago, the LSU Tigers beat previously undefeated Florida and claimed the top spot in the Anderson & Hester Rankings. In three weeks, the undefeated Tigers and star sophomore running back Leonard Fournette will travel to Tuscaloosa to play the Alabama Crimson Tide.
Beats Bush in Florida; holds massive leads in Georgia, Alabama, and South Carolina.5:27 PM, Aug 5, 2015 • By MICHAEL GRAHAM
A new OpinionSavvy/InsiderAdvantage poll shows Donald Trump doing better in the South than he is nationally. In Georgia, The Donald’s 30 percent is nearly double his closest competitor, Jeb Bush (17 percent), Ben Carson’s at 10 percent, and the rest of the field is single digits—or zero, as in the case of southern boy Lindsey Graham.
Notes on the FloraBama Mullet Toss.2:35 PM, Apr 28, 2015 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
It was the biggest weekend of the spring, with people coming from all over to a little strip of beach known as “Perdido Key,” for a gathering known as the FloraBama Mullet Toss. It has been going on for three decades and every year it grows; it now claims to draw numbers in the “tens of thousands.” Hard to know if that is an exaggeration, but there is no denying the traffic along the beach highway or the multitude
7:32 AM, Mar 30, 2015 • By JERYL BIER
During President Obama's tenure, religious Americans have been increasingly marginalized by an administration that can be intolerant or at least unaccomodating of beliefs that conflict with its policies, regulations, or legislative goals. Perhaps most notably, President Obama campaigned by expressing support for traditional marriage, more than once citing his Christianity as the basis for his position, a position he later "evolved" away from. This has not stopped the president, however, from invoking scripture in support of other items on his agenda.
A man of policies, ideas, and solutions.Apr 6, 2015, Vol. 20, No. 29 • By FRED BARNES
In 1989, Gary Palmer founded the Alabama Policy Institute, a conservative think tank. By the time he resigned as its president last year, API had become a powerful force on state issues, everything from pensions to prison reform to politics. Palmer led the successful fight against a lottery—Alabama is among the few states without one—and organized the drive that defeated Republican governor Bob Riley’s bid for a whopping tax increase.
9:17 AM, Jan 6, 2015 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
While college football fans were riveted to the two playoff games on New Year’s Day (make that one-and-a-half playoff games, as the second half of the Rose Bowl was hardly must-see T.V.), some commentators could hardly wait to seize the moment to criticize the Bowl Championship Series (BCS), college football’s previous format for determining its national champion.
By 60 to 23 percent margin, fans said they would rather entrust the BCS than a committee. 6:04 PM, Dec 7, 2014 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
Most college football fans are happy that the sport has adopted a 4-team playoff. The method of selecting those four teams, however, is another matter. This past offseason, McLaughlin & Associates asked self-described college football fans this question: “As you may know, college football will have a 4-team playoff starting next season.
We need rivalries.4:05 PM, Dec 3, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
A few hours before kickoff, my wife and daughter and I went to Gladys Knight’s place in Atlanta for the chicken and waffles (can’t recommend the “Midnight Special” enough) and the room was full. It seemed like every third table was occupied by people wearing crimson or orange. When they caught the attention of someone in similar colors they would utter their war cry. “Roll Tide,” of course, or “War Eagle.”
10:06 AM, Dec 3, 2014 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
For the past decade, the Bowl Championship Series unfailingly provided the matchup for college football’s national title game that reflected the public consensus. (In the six years prior to that, the BCS’s record was spottier, but after 2003-04, its formula was wisely streamlined, and its subsequent results were impeccable.) This year, that BCS selection process, which involved 167 polls voters and six compu
10:55 AM, Oct 13, 2014 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
Half of this college football regular season (7 of 14 weeks) is now in the books, and neither of the two standout teams to date has won a conference championship, let alone a national championship, in the past half-century. Each played in a bowl game in Tennessee last year (the Music City Bowl and Liberty Bowl, respectively), far away from the bright lights of Pasadena, New Orleans, or Dallas. What’s more, the two are separated from each other by only 100 miles geographically and by only .001 in this week’s Anderson & Hester Rankings. Despite their modest pedigrees and expectations, however, few college football fans would deny that #1 Mississippi (6-0, with wins over #7 Alabama and #17 Texas A&M) and #2 Mississippi State (6-0, with wins over #6 Auburn and #17 Texas A&M) have accomplished more so far this season than any other teams in the country.
9:27 AM, Oct 7, 2014 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
After finishing the season ranked #29 last year, the Arizona Wildcats — hot off their upset win at Oregon — have claimed the top spot in the inaugural 2014 Anderson & Hester Rankings. The second and fourth spots are held by two schools from Mississippi — #2 Mississippi and #4 Mississippi State — that went a combined 15-11 last year. Sandwiched in between are the Auburn Tigers, who came within 14 seconds of winning last season’s national championship. TCU, which went 4-8 last year, rounds out the top-5.